Tuesday, October 15, 2013
A vote initially scheduled to come tonight on a House Republican plan that funds the government until Dec. 15 and increases the debt limit until Feb. 7, has been called off after several conservative activists signaled they opposed the proposal.
It is unclear whether Republicans have enough votes within their own caucus to pass the measure, and Democrats have pledged not to provide any votes to help pass the latest Republican fiscal proposal.
The GOP plan -- the second they have floated in one day -- would end the partial government shutdown and raise the debt limit in exchange for eliminating the Treasury Department's ability to use "extraordinary measures" to temporarily extend the debt limit, and it would prevent congressional and administration staff from receiving government subsidies for health insurance premiums on the exchanges.
This new iteration of the House Republican offer departs from the Senate proposal under consideration by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell because it moves up by one month the date though which the government would be funded and it includes a proposal that could amount to a significant pay cut to members, their staff and administration staff.
But the House GOP plan also does not delay or repeal the medical device tax, a provision in President Obama's health care law that Democrats want to preserve.
Yet even the provisions on Obamacare were not enough to please conservative activists. Heritage Action, an arm of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, as well as the tea party-backed group FreedomWorks, have both urged Republican lawmakers to vote against the House proposal.
House GOP leaders are struggling to settle on a plan to open the federal government and raise the country's debt ceiling that would placate the most conservative members of their rank and file, while Senate leaders grow increasingly concerned that the House's latest actions could stymie a bipartisan agreement they are close to brokering to end the standoff.
Earlier this morning, the House proposed a plan that would make more changes to Obama's health care law, including a delay in a tax on medical devices and a provision that would force members of Congress, their staff and cabinet members to get their health insurance from exchanges without government subsidies.
But even before the details of the plan emerged, the White House signaled that Obama would reject it. And it was unclear whether it even had enough Republican support for passage in the House.
Joe Biden Shops at Brooks Brothers During Shutdown
House Republicans, amid the challenge of pushing Democrats for more concessions in a compromise deal, began their 9 a.m. meeting today by singing the hymn "Amazing Grace" to "strengthen their resolve," according to a senior GOP aide.
"There are a lot of opinions about what direction to go," Boehner told reporters this morning after a two-hour meeting with rank and file Republicans. "But we are going to continue to work with our members on both sides of the aisle to try to make sure there is no issue of default and we get our government reopened."
Obama today in an interview with ABC station WABC-TV in New York suggested that Boehner is getting in the way of a bipartisan compromise because he can't control his own Republicans caucus.